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UNIT 25: Global Popular Culture

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Soccer and the World Cup

Sports can often reflect the globalization of popular culture. This is certainly the case for soccer (which the rest of the world calls "football") and its championship World Cup, which is explored in this segment. Soccer originated among the British working classes in the nineteenth century, but it soon spread around the world with the British Empire and British commerce. Imperial administrators, missionaries, workers, and settlers introduced soccer wherever they went.

In these new places, indigenous peoples often worked to excel at soccer in order to resist British notions of racial superiority or British colonial dominance. Colonial nationalists encouraged their followers to play soccer, as they argued that it could help generate a sense of national identity among both players and fans. Once soccer spread to new places, indigenous peoples introduced new styles to the game that were influenced by local and regional expressions of popular culture.

In Brazil, this type of improvisation resulted in a completely new approach to the game that emphasized new strategies and new ways for fans to express team loyalties. In recognition of Brazil's unique contribution to the game, in 1974 the International Federation of soccer Associations selected a Brazilian to be its first non-European president. During his term, he doubled the number of soccer teams eligible to play in the World Cup and created a Women's World Cup, bringing the sport to more people than ever before. Today, Brazil has won more World Cups than any other nation, and two billion people watched the 2002 World Cup that was played in East Asia.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Ahn Young-joon, SOCCER FANS AT THE WORLD CUP IN SEOUL (2002). Courtesy of the AP/ Wide World Photos.

John Babb, BRAZILIAN SOCCER FAN AT WORLD CUP (2002). Courtesy of The Image Works.


Anonymous, PELE PERFORMS THE BICYCLE KICK (1968). Courtesy of the AP/Wide World Photos.

Amy Sancetta, SOUTH KOREA WINS WORLD CUP GAME (2002). Courtesy of AP/ Wide World Photos.



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